Katanga Government Aviation Unit

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The former Belgian Congo was given independence on 30 June 1960, amid a prolonged period of political and economic upheaval. Very shortly afterwards, the Province of Katanga declared unilateral independence from the newly established Republic of Congo. The breakaway province took over many of the assets of the former colonial policing air arm, the Aviation de la Force Publique du Congo, and formed a new air arm, the Katanga Air Force. A few AFP aircraft were also used to establish a Katanga Government Aviation Unit, for the transport of supplies and government officials. Several additional civil aircraft were later impressed into government service. This page covers the non-military transport aircraft used by the Katanga Government. Katanga Air Force aircraft are covered elsewhere.

After the Congo government received substantial outside help, the rebels were put on the defensive and the Katangan capital Elisabethville was captured by pro-government forces on 30 December 1962. On 21 January 1963, the last rebel stronghold of Kolwezi surrendered, formally ending the war.

Key Dates

11 July 1960    Katanga Government Aviation Unit created
21 Jan 1963    Katanga surrenders

Current Status

The Katanga Government Aviation Unit was disbanded in January 1963.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

No special markings were carried. Aircraft normally retained their previous colour scheme.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Katangan Government aircraft retained their previous registration, or used the unofficial registration prefix ‘KA’, e.g. Heron KA-TUR.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

A variety of semi-fictional airlines and aircraft operators were involved in smuggling weapons and equipment to the Katanga forces. These unofficial operations are not included here, only the officially operated aircraft.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Luano Airfield, Elisabethville.

Organisational Structure

Katanga Government Aviation was an ad-hoc entity that operated without much central organisation or structure. There were no subordinate units.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The main air base was Luano, but Kolwezi, Jadotville, Kisenge, Dilolo and Kipushi were also used.

More Information

Books

African Military Aviation by Winston A. Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1994)

African Air Forces by Winston Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1999)

Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour Press, 1989)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

To be added.

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Katanga Government

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aero 45 1 1961 1961 ex-civil
Boeing YC-97 Stratofreighter 1 1961 1961 ex-civil
Cessna 310 2 1961 1962 ex-civil
de Havilland D.H.114 Heron 2 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
Douglas C-47 Dakota 2 1961 1962 ex-civil
Douglas DC-4/C-54 Skymaster 2 1963 1963 ex-civil

Katanga Air Force

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The former Belgian Congo was given independence on 30 June 1960, amid a prolonged period of political and economic upheaval. Very shortly afterwards, the Province of Katanga declared unilateral independence from the newly established Republic of Congo. The breakaway province was fortunate in having many of the assets of the former colonial policing air arm, the Aviation de la Force Publique du Congo. All AFP aircraft in Katanga were immediately seized and used to form a new air arm, the Katanga Air Force, or Avikat for short. Additional aircraft were later obtained via a variety of legal and illegal means.

The Congo government successfully appealed from help from the United Nations, and a civil war followed, which saw the Katanga Air Force operate extensively in direct support of the rebel ground forces. The United Nations air and ground forces eventually proved decisive, with the Katangan capital Elisabethville being captured on 30 December 1962 and the remnants of the Katangan forces being rounded up soon after. On 21 January 1963, the last stronghold of Kolwezi surrended, formally ending the war.

Key Dates

11 July 1960    Katanga Air Force created
6 Jan 1963    Avikat disbanded

Current Status

The Katanga Air Force was disbanded in January 1963.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

National Insignia

The Katanga Air Force used a red-green-white roundel.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Katanga Air Force aircraft carried numerical serial prefixed by the letters KAT or KA, e.g. Piper PA-22 KAT-72.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

To be added.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Luano Airfield, Elisabethville.

Organisational Structure

To be added.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Order of Battle for 1960
Order of Battle for 1961
Order of Battle for late 1962

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The main air base was Luano, but Kolwezi, Jadotville, Kisenge, Dilolo and Kipushi were also used.

To be added.

More Information

Books

African Military Aviation by Winston A. Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1994)

African Air Forces by Winston Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1999)

Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour Press, 1989)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

wikipedia: Katangese Air Force

Katangan Air Force

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Katanga Air Force

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
de Havilland D.H.104 Dove 11 1960 1963 Force Publique
de Havilland D.H.114 Heron 2 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
de Havilland D.H.115 Vampire T.11 2 1961 1961 Portuguese AF
Dornier Do 28A 5 1961 1963 ?
Douglas C-47 Dakota 6 1961 1962 various
Fouga CM.170 Magister 3 1961 1961 ?
Lockheed Lodestar 1 1962 196? ex-civil
North American T-6 Texan 15 1960 1963 Force Publique
Piper L-18C Super Cub 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
Piper PA-20 Pacer Caribbean 2 1961 1961 ?
Piper PA-22 Tripacer 5 1962 19?? ?
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 3 1962 196? ?
Sikorsky S-55 3 1960 1961 Force Publique
Aerospatiale SA 313 Alouette II 3 196? 196? Force Publique

Katanga

Country Profile

The Country

Geography

Details to be added.

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National History

Summary Narrative History

Timeline – Key Dates in Katanga History

Further National Information

BBC News Profile: Katanga
wikipedia: Katanga
wikipedia: History of Katanga

Aviation

Text to be added on the development of aviation in Katanga.

Markings

Civil Aircraft Registrations

Katanga based civil (and military) aircraft used the registration sequence KA-AAA to KA-ZZZ, 1961-1963.


Aircraft Operators

Military Air Arms

Air Force (Avikat)

Central Government Agencies

Government Aviation (Katanga Government)

Public Service Aviation

Medical Aviation – no EMS/rescue helicopter service
Police Aviation – policing was performed by the Gendarmerie, which shortly became the Air Force.

Commercial Aviation

Air Katanga

wikipedia: Airlines of Katanga
The World’s Airlines: Katanga

Private Aviation

To be added

Industry

Aircraft Manufacturers

None at present.

Aircraft Maintenance/Repair Depots

None known.

Airfields

Civil Airports & Airfields

Airports in Katanga

Military Air Bases & Airfields

Military Air Bases Listing – to be added.

On Show

Aviation Museums

None at present

Airshow Dates

Key Airshow Dates

More Information

Aviation-Related Magazines

None known.

Aviation Bibliography

To be added

Web Links

To be added.